Perfect Storm lifts Aust to BJK Cup final

Australia have been carried to the Billie Jean King Cup final by a perfect Storm and the glorious return of a national tennis institution.

The continuing heroics of double winner Storm Sanders alongside the seemingly ageless Sam Stosur have left captain Alicia Molik believing her team of battlers are now ready to be crowned world champions when they play Switzerland in Sunday's final in Glasgow.

In a tie-deciding super tie-break in the doubles at the Emirates Arena, the pair kept their nerve admirably in the teeth of the home crowd din to edge Olivia Nicholls and Alicia Barnett and seal a 2-1 silencer of a triumph over hosts Great Britain.

Saturday's memorable triumph set up the prospect of a first title in the competition for Australia in 48 years since Evonne Goolagong led the victors.

"It's ours for the taking," declared Molik.

"Today, Australia really showed our fighting spirit. We are going to bring it tomorrow too. It's exciting!"

Three years ago, Molik led the team that lost agonisingly in the final to France in Perth.

But this time she's convinced her side can beat the odds even though they'll be underdogs against the Swiss, for whom Olympic champion Belinda Bencic beat Karolina Pliskova in straight sets to seal a 2-0 win over 11-time champions Czech Republic.

"We've got the team, I believe, to get through tomorrow. We're still making up for the final we lost in 2019," said Molik, whose side were beaten by the Swiss in last year's semis.

Stosur - 19 years since she first played in the event then known as the Federation Cup - was again a rock for her inspired partner as Sanders won her fifth rubber of the week.

With the scores locked at 6-6 in the first-to-10 deciding super breaker, the pair were super-charged after the final changeover, cracking four winning volleys between them to finally edge to a 7-6 (7-1) 6-7 (5-7) [10-6] win.

It was the 39th BJK Cup win of 38-year-old Stosur's distinguished career -and there has hardly been a more important one.

"I'd certainly rather be playing than watching," smiled the former US Open champion, who felt she might spend the week cheerleading on the bench after not having won a match since June.

Instead, she's now prevailed in two crucial matches with Sanders this week.

"I wanted to try and help the team in whatever way I could. If that's on the court, that's great; if it's cheering from the sideline, then that's okay too," she added.

Victory came after Sanders had earlier battled through a leg injury to beat Heather Watson 6-4 7-6 (7-3) in the opening singles rubber, only for Ajla Tomljanovic to then suffer a serious off-day, losing to Harriet Dart - ranked 65 places below her 7-6 (7-3) 6-2 to leave the tie on a knife edge.

Sanders was again Australia's aggressive inspiration, defying her lowly world ranking of 237 as she outplayed world No.133 Watson despite feeling discomfited by a leg injury that required off-court physio treatment after the first set.

But she was back two hours later, playing superbly. "I'm ready, super-pumped and proud of this team. It's awesome. Kind of use the high from today to keep going for tomorrow," she said.

"We are in the final, and I feel like, yeah, let's give it everything tomorrow."